Since first being discovered By Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the new world, Panama has attracted explorers and the adventuress to its shores for over 500 years. Beginning with the first Spanish settlements in the early 1500’s, Panama has played a major role as the central hub of the “New World". Spanish treasure fleets sailed to Panama from Chile and Peru for almost 300 years. Inca treasure was carried by mule from Pacific to Atlantic overland via the “Las Cruces Trail”. Morgan the pirate prayed on the Spanish treasure fleets that crossed the Caribbean on their way to Spain.
Gold miners flocked to Panama in the 1840’s on their way to California to “strike it rich”. In the 1850’s work on the first Ocean to Ocean railroad was completed making travel from Atlantic to Pacific a short and comfortable trip through Panama’s pristine jungles. Again, in the early 1900’s, people from around the world flocked to Panama to participate in the construction of the incredible Panama Canal.
The majority of Panama’s population is ethnically a mix of Spanish, indigenous, and of African descent. The remaining population is of Afro descent, Caucasian, indigenous, Chinese, and others. Spanish is the official language. English is a common second language spoken by the West Indians and by many businesspeople and professionals in Panama City. More than half the population lives in the Panama City-Colon metropolitan corridor. There are several theories about the origin of the name "Panama". Some believe that the country was named after a commonly found species of trees. Others believe that the first settlers arrived in Panama in August, when butterflies abound, and that the name means "many butterflies" in an indigenous language. The best known version is that a fishing village and its nearby beach bore the name "Panamá", which meant "an abundance of fish". We at partial to the “an abundance of fish” definition and we will be happy to prove it to You!